WRC: Ott Tanak wins Sardinia Rally

In the end, Hyundai achieved a victory not seen since Catalonia in 2021. Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja brought the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 its first victory in an almost entirely dominant race.

Hyundai’s oxygen balloons, after many problems, are back on the road to victory, showing that new cars are born well, but delivered late.
Rally Sardinia usually smiles at the modern age, and with three victories in the last four years, we finally got to see Tannak, who had no problems, showing why he was the winner in 2019.
Hyundai has been known to have been the team with the most retirements, or at least unfairly, we’ve seen many times in recent years that their drivers dominate the race, or take the lead and lose because of the “pixie” . ‘ Mechanics, as we all know, drivers always have a better chance of winning as long as reliability gives the team a break, and that’s exactly what happened in Sardinia.
Obviously this is very good for the champion as this is only the second race on dirt roads this year and now that modern racing has been “injected” the range of winning candidates has increased. Basically because at least Tanak and Neuville will always be a favorite.
It remains to be seen whether reliability has improved, as there is no need to go further than the same Sardinian Rally to realize that this is still an open item in modern times: look at Thierry Neuville’s problem.
This reliability issue was raised at the beginning of the season as they were new cars and it was very apparent in the first race with the Hyundai team, but at least in Sardinia Tanak had a clean race and the result was a bright spot .
Another thing we noticed in Sardinia is that M-Sport hardly ever fights for a title, even if they can win here and there. No pilot can do that. Craig Brin is a good driver, but he’s not as good as the two best drivers in Toyota and Hyundai. But it’s getting better, it’s getting more comfortable with the car. He can win here and there and continue to be as routine as he has always been, but doing what Sebastian Loeb did on his first morning in Monte Carlo and Portugal was not for him. Frustratingly, without top drivers, the M-Sport always produces sub-car numbers. What a shame.
Toyota has a kind of “intercourse break” in Sardinia. Kalle Rovanpera had more difficulty driving the road, Esapekka Lappi replaced in a fantastic way, and Sébastien Ogier led the rally, but he crashed disgracefully and retired. Elfyn Evans had a bad day. Only in Portugal can he reach his level. Some are unlucky, and some are asking for trouble.
Finally, it remains to be said that the former rally Costa Esmeralda is a great testament to European rallying, but it’s no coincidence that it didn’t belong to the World Cup until the 20th century. twenty one.
The race is different because it is very technical, narrow, hard sections, the seaside scenery is interesting scenery, but these sections, for example, are like roadside and roadside to Bella compared to the Portuguese. I miss the asphalt stage in Sanremo and the other races in Tuscany.

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The rally’s story is simple: Elfyn Evans went ahead, taking advantage of a good position on the road, followed by Ott Tanak, Thierry Noy Thierry Neuville is haunted by dust and wasting time.
With everyone close, Esapekka Lappi came to the front and the three riders fit within three seconds. Then it was Tanak’s turn to take the lead when Evans backed off with engine problems due to a rock that damaged the crankcase. Tanak and Lappi are racing against the clock, and Lappi is on the front lines in PE7 after problems with Tanak’s modern gearbox.
At the start of Day 2, Lappi retired due to an accident, and since then Tanak has a 21.5-second lead over Craig Breen. Basically it ends in a race to the front.
Interest shifted to battling for second place with Dani Sordo, who had a poor start to the rally, improved a lot and was getting closer to the well-reacted Breen. Between forwards and backwards, the M-Sport drivers left the Spaniards well behind, so we arrived on the last day and everyone was waiting for the PowerStage. There were no setbacks, everything was decided at the start of Sunday.

Unstoppable Tanak
Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) finished second to lead in PE4 but lost time and took the lead in the afternoon with a wheel drive failure. The next day he took the lead quickly, even without the slippery slip, he was already ahead in the split, and since then he was unstoppable, even controlling and managing the tempo, and he won race after race. He was always in control of the operation, he added to the lead for Craig Breen, first 29.8s, then 30.9s, 37.2s, winning the rebound, it was just control.
Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Ford Puma Rally1) has been in the fight but is second.
They finished 15.5 seconds before the end of day 1 and were in 4th place, good pace but a small error reversed the time gained by this pace. Second day, good fight with Dani Sordo. He and the Spaniard quickly passed Pierre-Louis Lubet, and Brin saw a tire come off the rim. Sordo was 1.5 seconds away but Breen always reacted and the Spaniard’s blunder in PE16 dug up the irreparable gap.
Dani Sordo / Candido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) had a poor start to the first day, but then improved, finishing 5th in 16.1 seconds, fighting for the podium. On day 2, a small error put him out of the race for second place. For example, the hood was badly closed, making it difficult for him to see, especially the time he lost to a modern engine “choking” after crossing the stream.
Pierre Loubet/Vincent Landais’ best finish (Ford Puma Rally1) was 7th in the WRC with a top car, but this time with three drivers: 4th, a performance that has M-Sport frowning.
He started the rally with a dust problem and was still 3rd, he lost two places after one spin, he was back in 3rd and always had the best rally he had in the WRC era. He became the best Ford and he did a good job of not wanting to go after Brin and Sodo because he still didn’t have the “leather” and stayed fourth.
Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) finished fifth and… increased the championship lead. No dust, but lots of land to “clean up”, no “miracles” like Portugal. It gave up time, and at the end of Day 1, it was 8th at 1:13.1. He recovered his position and finished fifth, but was more than three minutes away from the winner.
Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) was sixth and had the most tedious rally of the recent past. Did Portugal’s “failure” affect him? He made some mistakes, the biggest mistakes in PE11, but he always walked in a humble position. This is a “weak” rebound compared to recent performance.
Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (Ford Puma Rally1) left early, with no hope of a good finish after a technical problem behind the gyro, giving up almost two minutes on the first day. The car wouldn’t start and ended up being spoiled.
Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1) started the rally in 6th, the driver gained confidence and did better than the Portuguese race, he had a few minor accidents like everyone else, but what wasn’t in the plan was to return The crash, this time in the last quarter of Day 2, was already under pressure from Rovanpera. Instead of hitting him again, let him go without a fight. He walks for too long without anyone, but when someone is, he stains the paint…
Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) is having a tough season, the rhythm is still there, but bad luck. Give up after leading. With a light touch, a moment later, the engine temperature “spiked”. Giving up is inevitable.
In PE16 he again had problems with broken suspension. Another unfortunate assembly.
Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1), if in Portugal they lost more than a minute due to a propshaft failure, this time a new transmission failure resulted in even more time wasted. Soon Game Over achieved good results.
Game 2 went well, losing a few more seconds to save the life of the dog crossing the road, but it rolled over in PE12.
Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) initially made Sébastien Ogier forget, they moved quickly to the front of the rally and Tanak took the lead after Lappi’s puncture and didn’t waste much time leading 3.7 seconds. Then the Estonian suffered a mechanical failure at PE7, which gave Esapekka Lappi the lead. Then there are accidents. A boulder in the road bounced him off, and he ran out of control, hitting everything in front of him. This is very unfortunate.
In short, Hyundai welcomes back and promises to fight for victory in the remaining seven games. All that’s left is that the M-Sport can fight for victory without needing Sébastien Loeb. Next up is Kenya, where Loeb and Ogier will be…
Nikolai Grizin/K. Alexandrov (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) wins WRC2 Open with 28.0s over Jan Solans/Eusebio Sanjuan (Citroën C3 Rally2), Jari Huttunen/Mikko Lukka (Ford Fiesta) Rally2) finished third with 33.1s.Chris Ingram/Craig Drew (Škoda Fabia Rally2) finished fourth in 38.9 seconds


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